This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The Portlandia grandiflora is a splendid stove plant belonging to the natural order RubiaceŠ. As it is a plant to be found only in a few collections, I thought that it would be interesting to some of the readers of the Monthly, to learn that a fine specimen of the Portlandia has been in blossom here for the past three weeks, and I counted fifty flowers fully expanded on it at one time. The Portlandia is a native of Jamaica, where it is said to grow among the rocks at the foot of the mountains. It was introduced into England in 1775. The flowers are about five inches long, one and a half inches broad, and shaped like a Brugmansia, pure white excepting on the inside at the throat, where it is reddish. The flowers are produced in the greatest abundance and are quite fragrant at night. In its native country it is said to grow ten to twelve feet high, but I think that it would grow to the height of twenty feet or more. It is also described as an evergreen shrub, but I find that our plant must have support and that it shows every indication of being a climbing plant after the way of the Wistaria. As to its being evergreen, I can only say that our plant gradually commences to cast its leaves in May, and by July there are no leaves on it.
It commences to grow in September and flowers in November. Our plant occasionally ripens seed, and I think that if the flowers were carefully fertilized, seed would no doubt be produced in abundance. The Portlandia can be propagated from cuttings, and if the young plants are repotted as often as necessary and liberally treated, flowering plants will be produced in a few years. As our plant is over twelve feet high, the plants will have to become large before they flower to perfection, and as it requires abundance of room for its branches, it will on this account, never come into general cultivation. The bark of the Portlandia is said to possess similar powers of the cinchona, but much weaker. I have never tried to raise it from seed.